Boracay Beach Guide

20 Sep Boracay Beach Guide

Boracay is a secluded, 7km tropical island surrounded by stunning white sand beaches and clear blue waters. The island is located an hour‘s flight from Cebu or Manila just off the larger Philippines island of Panay. It is easily accessible from major cities such as Singapore or Hong Kong.

For beach connoisseurs, Boracay competes with the best beaches in more popular destinations such as the Caribbean and the South Pacific as well as neighboring Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Outdoor lovers will enjoy watersport activities such as sailing, windsurfing, snorkeling, diving and jet skiing. The fun in Boracay doesn’t end when the sun sets either! The nightlife pulsates with many bars and restaurants serving food, drink and fun until the wee hours of dawn.

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When to Go?

The dry season (Amihan) stretches from November to May. This is when the waves on White Beach are relatively more calm and suitable for swimming. The other side of the island has rougher winds, making it suitable for wind surfing and kite flying.

The rainy season (Habagaf) stretches from Jun to October. During this period, there is a a higher chance of thunderstorms or typhoons. While Boracay is relatively protected from these natural occurences by the mountains of Cebu and Negros, White Beach often experiences large and strong winds and waves, making it more difficult for water activities.

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Tourist Seasons

In terms of hotel prices, hotels and resorts in Boracay usually have 2 main seasons: Low and high tourist traffic.

Low Traffic: June to October (Habagaf)

High Traffic: November – May (Amihan)

  1. Christmas / New Years: Dec 15 – Jan 5
  2. Chinese New Year: Date of CNY +/-3 days
    (eg. Should Chinese New Year fall on 8 February, prices will be higher for 5 – 11 Februrary)
  3. Easter: Date of Easter +2/-4 days (eg. Should Easter fall on 8 February, prices will be higher for 5 – 11 Februrary)

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Getting Around Boracay

Motorized pedicab and tricycle is the classic mode of transportation in Boracay.

The daytime fare per passenger is around 30 to 50 pesos for any trip in the flat area between Boat Stations 1 and 3. Fares are higher (negotiable), for trips beyond station 1 and 3.

Pedicabs are commonly available on the southern part of White beach path.

Daytime per person range for 40 pesos and above, depending on the distance and your negotiating skills. Nightime fares for both motorcycles (tricycles) and pedicabs are higher the later the hour. Prices are supposed to be posted in the trycicles so have a look if you are unsure of the right fare.

Note: Some dishonest tricycle drivers might try to trick you into paying more so before getting into the tricycle, ask how much the fare is or ask the locals!

Vehicle Rental 

Boracay has a comparatively good road network, so most of the interesting sightseeing spots can be reached by either mountain bike or motorcycle.  Both can be rented by the hour or daily from numerous rental operators, especially along the White Beach path. Prices vary. Tricycles can be rented for about 200 pesos per hour to tour the island, but they can travel only on the main road. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the beachfront. One can find rental shops at the corner of D’Mall and the main road.

ATV (newest craze in the island)

Transverse the steepest and the most rugged road going to Mount Luho and other scenic viewpoints. Just rent an ATV and travel the whole island. Before starting for our ATV ride, you will usually have to attend a short workshop, more like a short explanation on how it works, from driving to visiting the Ocean Tower.

ATV’s are restricted to certain roads around Boracay and you will only be able to get so close to the beach before you will be instructed to turn around. There are some exceptions to this rule but you will have to work out the details with the rental shop that you get your ATV from.

One of the largest rental facilities for ATV’s is located near Eco village in Hagdan and the price to rent is only 500 pesos (~US$10) per hour. To find this area, you may also look for the turnoff on the main road to Diniwid Beach. Many shops charge even less and for that price, you will be hard-pressed to find such a fun-filled hour away from the busier beaches of Boracay.

ATV tours allow you to cruise the main inroads of Boracay island and learn your way around. Using an ATV is a great way to see the island and to have a little adventure at the same time. Most ATV tours will direct you up the back roads to Mount Luho, the highest point in Boracay A small ATV is usually and automatic transmission and very easy to drive. After Mount Luho, you might continue up to Yapak Beach and even make your way out to Manoc Manoc. Boracay is really a beautiful island and it is hard to se everything in a few short days if you don’t get out and take a ride around the various roads. If you’re looking for something different to do on your next visit to this paradise island, ATV tours might just be the thing you were looking for.

Cars are not allowed on boracay island so there’s no car rental available.

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What to Do on Boracay’s Beaches

  1. White Beach

White Beach is 4km long and by far the biggest and most popular beach in Boracay. The main attraction of this beach is of course its beauty but also that you have everything you need there: resorts, restaurants, nightlife, activities, it’s all available right in front of the beach.

The downside that comes with that is that it can become crowded sometimes (usually only around sunset time though).

The beach is divided in to 3 sections, named Station 1, 2 and 3. Each station has its own things going for it, and the best place to stay depends largely on your personal preferences.

Party destinations range from Epic, the beach’s biggest club, on the edge of Stations One and Two, to nearby Aplaya Beach Bar, with its Mediterranean vibe.

Then there’s the debauched Cocomangas, where partygoers can binge drink for national pride — those foolish enough to drink 15 different shots of alcohol get their name and nationality on a small plaque on the bar’s wall.

Many bars along the Station Two have live music, which is of the consistently high standard that has led to Filipino musicians finding work in hotel bars the world over.

Directions: Guests who usually arrive from the nearby jetty of Caticlan island can just go straight to it by boat and landing on one of three Boat Stations on the beach. But if you are already on the island, hail a tricycle or Jeepney which all travel the main road of Boracay.

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  1. Puka Beach

Puka Beach is the second most popular beach on Boracay. It’s a 20 minute tricycle ride away from the center of Boracay and because of that it’s also a more quiet place, but very beautiful. Especially when you go there in the early morning you can sometimes have the place all to yourself, which can be pretty special experience.

Upon arrival by road, visitors are greeted by of stalls selling locally made shell jewelry and shell souvenirs.

Yapak Beach has thus far escaped the rampant development seen on Boracay’s main beach and its coconut-palm-lined shores give visitors a feeling of what the island was like when it was known only to a lucky few.

There are huts on the beach that you can relax in, they are built on the big cliff that stretches along the back of the beach. Usually people just chill out on the sand though. At dusk the giant bats come out, you can see them flying across the tops of the cliffs.

Directions: 20 minutes tricycle ride (~ Php 50)

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  1. Bulabog Beach

Bulabog Beach is the kite and windsurfing beach of Boracay. During the windy season you can see the wind and kitesurfers blasting and jumping across the water. If you are interested in learning one of these sports then there are plenty of beginner-friendly schools along the beach to choose from.

While wind-blown fine sand and debris rule the beach out as a place to sunbathe during amihan, its choppy waters are ideal for watersports such as kite boarding and windsurfing.

The beach is lined with kite boarding schools, small bars catering to the kitesurfing and windsurfing crowd along with accommodation for kite boarding students and budget conscious travelers who want to avoid the crowds of White Beach.

Directions: 10 min walk from White Beach

If you’re coming from the Main Road, there are, at least, three access roads that lead you to Bulabog. You can take the road along the corner of 24/7 Convenience Store located at the Crown Regency Hotel.

There’s also a road beside the lagoon, across the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI). And the third road is located across Crafts of Boracay. Regardless of the road you take, you will pass local residences and other small accommodations catering to foreign and local tourists alike.

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  1. Diniwid Beach

Diniwid Beach is a small but nice beach. It’s only a short walk from the Station 1 area of White Beach. There is a very nice loungey bar/restaurant there named Spider House, a perfect set up to enjoy the sunset.

Apart from just relaxing in the place itself, you can also jump straight into the water for a swim, or do some tanning on a floating wooden deck that they’ve put in the water there.

Directions: Walk along the path around the mountain, or take a tricycle (~Php 100).

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  1. Ilig Iligan Beach

Ilig Iligan Beach is nice if you’re up for some adventure! The beach itself is ok, but what I like most of the place is that it’s a gateway to two secret beaches that barely any tourist knows about. You just have to swim there.

When you’re all the way to the right of the Ilig Iligan Beach just swim along the cliff and you will discover the first private beach. It’s about a 5 minute swim and the water is deep, so it’s not for everyone. But if you like an adventure and you can swim well then it’s a great experience.

After you reach the first beach there is a second beach as well. You don’t have to swim for that one, you can usually just walk there by walking over some rocks in the water.

Directions: You can go here by mountain bike, motorbike or rent a TriCycle (please be aware that the road is not fully developed at the last kilometer, so be prepared to walk).

From Ilig Iligan it is possible to hire a local guide to bring you over the rocks and to the Bat Caves.

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  1. Tambisaan Beach

Tambisaan Beach is great for snorkeling. Of all the beaches in Boracay, Tambisaan has by far the most marine life. Just walk across the beach and when you’re around one third along the beach walk into the water, that’s were all the marine life is.

Directions: Situated in the middle of Manoc Manoc and Bantud Barangays or districts, travelers who wish to get there need to ride a boat starting from one of the closest stations, namely Station 3.

Some can also take the motorized transports available there, but be sure to hone your talent for asking for cheap rates since people here are used to it.

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  1. Balinghai Beach

Balinghai Beach is a small private beach that is only accessible during low tide. During high tide the beach is under water. Usually you will be the only visitor on the beach there.

One of the nice things there is that you can have dinner on the beach, right next to the water.

Because it’s a private beach (it belongs to the Balanghai Beach Resort) there is an entrance fee. The entrance fee is 500 PHP per person. For children of 8 years old and younger it’s free. The entrance fee you pay is consumable as credit for the restaurant.

Directions: 40 minute stroll from Station 1 of White Beach (Just follow the road), or trishaw (~ 50php)

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What to Eat

  1. Adobo

A ubiquitous dish in every household in the Philippines, it’s Mexican in origin.

But Filipinos found that cooking meat (often chicken and pork) in vinegar, salt, garlic, pepper, soy sauce and other spices was a practical way to preserve it without refrigeration.

This cooking style can be applied to different meats or even seafood.

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  1. Lechon

The lechon is the most invited party guest in the Philippines.

The entire pig is spit-roasted over coals, with the crisp, golden-brown skin served with liver sauce, the most coveted part.

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  1. Sisig

Nothing goes to waste in Filipino food.

In the culinary capital of Pampanga, they turn the pork’s cheeks, head and liver into a sizzling dish called Sisig. The crunchy and chewy texture of this appetizer is a perfect match for a cold beer.

Serve with hot sauce and Knorr seasoning to suit the preference of you and your buddies.

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Water Sports

Each beach usually has their own water activities ranging from scuba diving, windsurfing, boat trips for island hopping to para sailing – and much more! It is usually the best deal if you make a deal on the spot at the watersports school on the beach itself, than if you book online.

However, you can also book activities online at one of the following websites:

http://boracaybestdeals.com/boracay-activities

http://www.boracaybeaches.info/what-to-do.html

This boozy strawberry shortcake milkshake is made of strawberries, cake vodka, and actual cake topped with more cake, whipped cream, and a strawberry!  This fall, you can have your cake and drink it too.

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Where to Eat

  1. Don Mestizos

A dozen or so years ago, a mestizo came to Boracay to open a rustic restaurant in a corner of what locals on the island refer to as Station One. That mestizo, Jose Carlos Remedios – Binggoy to those who know him – along with Jose Ramon Nieto, the other mestizo in Dos Mestizos, started cooking in his little corner of Boracay food that, in no time, caught the attention of gourmands, food and restaurant reviewers from Manila and beyond and generally, people with an appreciation for good food cooked with meticulous care, with only the best ingredients and condiments used to ensure quality of taste.$

Opening Hours: 10AM – Midnight Everyday

Address: Remedios street, Sitio Manggayad,, Boracay Island, Sunset Road, Malay, 5608 Aklan, Philippines

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  1. Lemoni Café & Restaurant

Lemon Café opened its doors in 2005 and has since been named one of Boracays most refreshing restaurants. Awarded 5 years in a row in Philippine Tatlers best restaurants issue. The cafe serves eclectic healthy gourmet cuisine, refreshing beverages and supreme desserts to die for. All the elements and attributes of the humble Lemon play a part in their design, service, menu, drinks list, and specialties. 

$

Opening Hours: 7am – 11pm Everyday

Address: Aklan D’ Mall D’ Boracay, Malay, Aklan, Philippines

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  1. The Sunny Side Café

American and Philippino Cuisine

$

Opening Hours: 7am – 10pm Everyday

Address: White Beach Path, Malay, Aklan, Philippines

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Where to Stay

  1. Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort and Spa

Upon arrival by air on Boracay’s neighboring island of Caticlan, guests are whisked to Shangri-La’s fragrant and air-conditioned lounge at the port.

From here it’s around 20 minutes by private boat to the resort’s own jetty on the edge of an eco-park.

$$$$

Address: Barangay Yapak, Boracay Island, Malay Aklan, 5608 Aklan, Philippines

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  1. Discovery Shores Boracay

This five-star resort is Shangri-La’s most obvious competitor, although it has an entirely different look and feel – more Miami chic than hidden oasis.

With 87 suites — some have balcony Jacuzzis — Discovery Shores Boracay makes the most of its beach frontage at Station One, on the quieter end of White Beach.

$$$

Address: Boracay Hwy Central, Malay, Aklan, Philippines

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  1. Boracay Mandarin Island Hotel

Located in the thick of White Beach’s Station Two, the privately owned Boracay Mandarin Island Hotel has 52 rooms and suites.

Most rooms face an attractive central swimming pool with fountains and hanging vines.

$$

Address: Beachfront Station 2,Boracay Island Aklan, White Beach Path, Borac, 5608, Philippines

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